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Fat Possum Records are delighted to announce the tenth anniversary edition of Melody's Echo Chamber, the eponymously-titled debut album from French musician Melody Prochet. It’s a hypnotic and sometimes hypnagogic adventure of the senses, full of summery, shimmery songs that still sound as dreamy and vivid as they did a decade ago.
Recorded and co-produced with Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker in Perth, Australia, and finished in the South of France, it became a cornerstone of the new wave of psychedelia on its release in 2012, with melodic singles like ‘I Follow You’ and ‘Crystallized’ balanced elegantly with the more experimental ‘Quand vas tu rentrer’ and ‘Snowcapped Andes Crash’. At the time Pitchfork called it: “...enchanting, psychedelic-tinged pop with just the right amount of thematic darkness”, while NME said it was “subtly disorientating” and noted that Prochet had created something that was “just as dark as it is light.”
The album commenced in Western Australia in 2011 and was finished at Prochet’s family beach house in Cavalière on the French Riviera, a destination that held a very different energy to the enclosed spaces and noise of Paris, where Prochet was living at the time: “I recorded all of my vocals at my grandparents’ house. A place where you could wander, daydreaming, floating in the air.”
Prochet and Parker started work on what was supposed to be the second album in 2013 in Perth once again, and Melody embraced “Australia's vibrant, colourful landscapes, epic ocean horizons and wilderness, where everything seemed possible and beautifully wild. There I found a piece of my true self.” The recording of drums and violin were undertaken closer to home, in the basement of the Norfolk hotel in Perth, in the downtime between “the touring spiral” - as Melody puts it - that both she and Parker were obligated to see through: “I wrote bits of the songs around the world while swirling with the clouds around the globe, moving too fast,” she says. “I remember trying to blow those bubbles of creation for us into very uncertain windows of space and time.”
Unfold is finally being released in L.P. form, a splurge of righteous creation cut off at an inopportune moment and preserved like the ruins of Pompeii. Indeed, the groove-laden ‘Ocean Road’ is truncated at the 2.40 mark, leaving the listener in a brief state of bewilderment, followed by a moment of grief for what could have been. Thankfully, the mesmeric ‘Norfolk Hotel’, a song cast in the classic mould of
LP1 with a magnificent waltzy chorus augmented by spidery drum rolls, comes quickly to rescue us.
Unfold has an unspoiled, edenic quality, that is rudely and abruptly interrupted by the vicissitudes of living. “The album was fifty percent completed, and then the relationship just didn't make it through the process,” says Melody. “And then I tried to work on it on my own for a couple years, until I realised that I was just really hurting myself doing that.” In a moment of frustration, Melody deleted some of the music from those sessions which is now gone forever, but all is not lost. Seven tracks from that period are available for the first time on vinyl with this tenth anniversary edition.
‘Pêcheuse de Lune’ is an effulgent opener teaming with overdriven guitars and oscillators, the title track is delicate and effortless with unexpected interjections of mind-twisting vocalese, and the experimental, back-spinning ‘The Cure’, will surprise listeners: “‘The Cure’ is about that going backwards feeling, always coming back to the past and comparing - a meta, self-referential feeling. I love playing with motion in sonics, and it reminds me of Wong Kar Wai’s work in films like Chungking Express.”
The hitherto apocryphal songs of Unfold have generated their own myths. Prochet posted some of them in 2014 under the title From Pink They Fell Into Blue, and then deleted them and returned them to the archive to gather dust. And now, here they are, in their unexpurgated and unvarnished states, sometimes almost finished and sometimes in fragments, though in each case the essence wins through.
It’s been an eventful decade for Melody Prochet and she has achieved much in spite of some tribulations: a mother and the maker of three critically lauded and much-loved albums: Bon Voyage from 2018 and Emotional Eternal from early this year are both welcome additions to her life-affirming and effervescent oeuvre. The one that got away stands as a testament to the suffering of creation, and stands on its own as a historical ruin worthy of preservation. Unfold and behold.